Open Letter to the Community
I was motivated to write this letter after an uncomfortable exchange with another parent about COVID safety rules for an outdoor sport. I understand and appreciate that every person on this planet has been adversely affected by COVID-19. We’ve all had disrupted lives, canceled plans, financial stress, job uncertainty, childcare issues, etc. All of us have struggled with the anxiety of the uncertainty of an evolving deadly disease.
But the burden for healthcare workers is unique. To say the very least, this has been a traumatic experience. We were tasked with running into the metaphorical fire without knowing if we had the right gear. In May of 2020, my healthcare organization enacted a mandatory labor pool so I was on call seven days a week and if I refused a job assignment because I felt unsafe doing it or didn’t want to bring COVID-19 home to my family, I lost my job.
Many of my friends and co-workers experienced death like they have never seen before and some of them paid dearly for their commitment to their job. One easy example that still hurts my heart a year later is a friend who is an ICU nurse who lost her first pregnancy just before her 40th birthday in spring of 2020 while taking care of COVID-19-positive patients.
Because of this trauma, we are weary and exhausted. When people don’t wear a face mask correctly or complain about wearing it, I want to scream. I have worn a face mask for 9-10 hours a day for over a year and have as much acne than I did as a teenager.
When people try to have a debate about COVID safety precautions with me, it makes my blood boil. I understand and follow the science behind SARS-CoV2, and unless you have an epidemiology degree, please try to keep your opinions to yourself when you are speaking with healthcare professionals. No one has lived through COVID like us – please keep this in mind when talking to us.
Our experience of the pandemic is unique and we are all still so raw and exhausted. We don’t need discounts on coffee/clothes/etc. (although caffeine and free food are always appreciated). We need compassion from our community and neighbors.
Thank you for hearing my truth and my experience.
A very proud Evanston nurse